Zahra Niroobakhsh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: 350D Flarsheim Hall
Phone: 816-235-6394



  • Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, USA, 2017
  • M.S., Mechanical and Process Engineering, Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, 2011
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tehran, Iran, 2006

Research Focus/Expertise

  • Fluid dynamics of non-Newtonian flows
  • Bulk and interfacial rheology
  • Polymers and soft matters
  • Ternary/binary phase diagrams
  • Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)
  • Surface tension measurement, wetting and dynamic contact line
  • Microfluidics and microscale experiments
  • Giant multilamellar vesicles

Honors and Awards

  • Young Investigators Award (DNI) from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF), 2020.
  • Iranian American Academics and Professionals (IAAP) Scholarship Award, June 2017.
  • Best Paper and Presentation Award, College of Engineering Research Symposium (CERS), Penn State, 2016.
  • Howard O. and Jean Beaver Graduate Studies Grant, Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University, 2015.


No opening at this time.


Graduate and Senior Electives

MEC-ENGR 401/501 Introduction to Polymers and Soft Materials-3 Credits

MEC-ENGR 401/501 Introduction to Biomaterials-3 Credits

Undergraduate Courses

MEC-ENGR 299 Engineering Thermodynamics-3 Credits

Niroobakhsh Research Group: Complex Fluids and Soft Nanomaterials Lab


Niroobakhsh Research Group – Summer 2020

Research Focus

The Niroobakhsh research group focuses on self-assembly, rheological property, and fluid dynamics of soft materials including surfactant mixtures, polymer solutions, and emulsions.

  Soft Materials

First step is to design soft nanomaterials based on phase behavior of different components in order to obtain certain rheological properties with potential applications related to food, biomedical, and drug delivery systems.

                                                    Giant vesicles                                                        Micelle transition into lamellar

 Liquid/Liquid Instabilities  

Next step is to experimentally investigate fluid dynamics of the designed soft nanomaterials to mimic specific processing application.

           Hele-Shaw Experiments                                                            Droplet Generation                            Liquid-Liquid 3d Printing


Primary Investigator

Zahra Niroobakhsh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Office: 350D Flarsheim Hall


Phone: 816-235-6394


Ph.D. Students

Houman Honaryar

Houman has received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. He joined the research group in January 2019 as a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at UMKC. He is currently developing a liquid/liquid 3D printing method using surfactant self-assemblies and microstructures at fluids interfaces.


Mahsa Yazdani

Mahsa has received her bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran. She holds a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Engineering from University of Tehran, focused on enhancing the stability of drug delivery systems. She joined the research group in August 2019 and started her interdisciplinary Ph.D. program focused on Mechanical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is currently working on creating giant vesicles using single chain amphiphiles via droplet-based microfluidic systems for pharmaceutical applications and optimizing emulsion for oil spill remediation.



M.Sc. Students

Lauren Hernandez

Lauren Hernandez has received a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Minor in Physics from the University of Missouri, Kansas City May 2020. She joined the research group March 2018 as an junior undergrad. She earned Deans List in 2019. Then joined Order of the Engineer to uphold the responsibility of carrying out safe and humane engineering practices in society, and putting the safety of others as her upmost priority when designing/building anything for public use. As of August 2020, she will continue her research as a graduate student at UMKC. Lauren is developing a 3D printing method using Hydrogel mixtures in the lab.


Undergraduate Students

Timothy Reed

Timothy is an undergraduate senior in Mechanical Engineering and joined the lab Spring of 2019 . Before pursuing his engineering degree, he worked in the United States Navy for eight years as an aviation electronics technician. Timothy has acheived Dean’s list honors Fall 2017, Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. He won a UMKC SEARCH research grant Fall 2019 and participated in the UMKC 20th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research Spring 2020. He is currently working on the effect of chemical dispersants for oil spill remediation.

Ryan Butler

As an Air Force officer of seven years Ryan worked on several technologically advanced projects, traveled the world working with multiple foreign allies, and inspired young military officer to make the world better. He implemented Presidentially-directed policies and served in a diplomatic capacity to negotiate new contract efforts with foreign militaries.  Ryan began his engineering undergraduate coursework in 2018.  His previous engineering research focused on pulse power and high-power microwaves. Ryan joined the group in May, 2020.  His current research focus is on soft materials and flexible electronics.



Austin Stark, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 5/2019 – 12/2019

Lauren Hernandez, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 3/2018 – 5/2020

Nyla Gwan, UMKC undergraduate researcher, 5/2019 – 5/2020


Laboratory Instrumentations

  • TA Instruments Discovery Hybrid Rheometer (DHR3)
  • Home-Built Liquid-Liquid 3D Printer
  • KD Scientific Dual Syringe Infusion/Withdrawal Pump
  • Fisherbrand Single Syringe Infusion Pump
  • Fisherbrand Heated Ultrasonic Baths
  • Fisherbrand Vortex Mixer
  • Mettler Toledo pH/Ion Benchtop Meter
  • Mettler Toledo ME Analytical Balances
  • Thermo Scientific Stirring Hotplates
  • Cannon-Fenske Routine Viscometers
  • Binder Drying/Heating Ovens with Natural Convection
  • VWR Refrigerated Circulating Baths

June 2020: Congratulations to Dr. Niroobakhsh who is awarded Doctoral New Investigators (DNI) funding from American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF).

May 2020: Congratulations to the new member of the group, Fiona (Yue) Fei who was awarded a UMKC Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) (Program suspended and grants not funded due to COVID-19).

April 2020: Two members of the group, Timothy Reed, and Lauren Hernandez presented posters in UMKC 20th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research in a virtual event.

September 2019: Congratulations to three undergraduate members of the lab, Nyla Gwan, Timothy Reed, and Lauren Hernandez who have received the UMKC Undergraduate SEARCH Research Awards.

August 2019: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented and served as the Chair of the Molecular Self-Assembly Session in Basic Research in Colloids, Surfactants & Nanomaterials Session in the 258th American Chemical Society National Meeting (ACS) in San Diego, CA.

July 2019: Two members of the lab attended TA Instruments/Waters Polymer Characterization Seminar in Wichita, KS.

February 2019: Congratulations to Dr. Niroobakhsh who published an article in Physical Review Letters on Rapid stabilization of immiscible fluids using nanostructured interfaces via surfactant association.

August 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh gave an invited talk in the Departments of Physics and Engineering in Brown University, Providence, RI.

August 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented and served as the Chair of the Surfactant System Session in Basic Research in Colloids, Surfactants & Nanomaterials Session in the 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting (ACS) in Boston, MA.

June 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh visited the “Soft Matter at Interfaces” group of Prof. Regine von Klitzing at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany from June 12th to July 10th.

May 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh attended an intense one-week workshop on “Polymer Chemistry: Principles & Practice” organized by American Chemical Society (ACS) and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA.

March 2018: Dr. Niroobakhsh presented in the American Physical Society (APS) March meeting in Los Angeles, CA.